Dye Pack, Panic Alarm and Locked Anteroom Help Stymie Bank Robber

Robber escaped with only $145, some of it marked, thanks to quick thinking of tellers


Low profile this bank robber was not. Still, he managed to elude the cops.

Throwing a pair of $20 bills out of the getaway car window is one of those acts of ill-advised desperation that, in retrospect, a reflective thief might well regret. And shaking a steel bank door with your ungloved hands is another option that might make a fugitive sorry. The dumped bills were marked with red dye, tending to attract the attention of passersby turned witnesses, which is what happened.

A 32-year-old Detroit woman saw a 1990s gray Buick Century speed past the Pet Smart, near the Circuit City store, near 23455 Eureka, as someone tossed red-stained currency out the window.

It was the red dye on those two bills, apparently, that prompted the heist man to discard what turned out to be a good portion of his booty.

This all happened on Jan. 19 about 4:30 p.m.

The robber, described as a scruffy black man, 20 to 30 years old, about 6 feet tall, thin, dressed in a black knit hat with something like "FUBU" on it, a dark jacket zipped up, and dark jeans, came into the Charter One Bank at 23455 Eureka in Taylor just before closing time and slid a note to a teller.

"This is a robbery, give me all your money," it read.

He also spoke to the teller, saying: "Give me that and that," according to police reports.

Those words were the tip-off for another teller, who figured the bank was being robbed and pushed an alarm button. Meanwhile, the teller who was being robbed, a 39-year-old Taylor woman, gave the bandit a $50 bill, a $20 bill and 25 $1 bills.

Ninety-five bucks total, but that was not enough. The robber spotted what looked like a pack of $20 bills in the teller's drawer. I'll take those, too, he said.

Unfortunately for the crook, this was not a stack of bills at all. It was a red dye pack sandwiched between two twenties.

The teller handed the pack to the thief. He tore the wrapper off the pack and dropped the wrapper by the window. Then he demanded his note back.

The teller returned the note and watched the robber head for the vestibule. There, he was stopped. The bank had closed and the little anteroom was locked. He panicked and grabbed the metal door. He shook the door. To one teller, he looked like he was "freaking" at being locked inside the bank he'd just robbed. However, the thief turned the dead bolt and headed for a waiting Buick.

Police found the dye pack, the note and the two twenties near the bank and logged them as evidence.

A videotape of the robbery showed the thief only as a black silhouette, but the robber's panicky exit caused him to leave further evidence at the crime scene -- fingerprints, three good ones on that door he shook so hard.